Summary record of the 55th meeting, held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on Wednesday, 11 March 1987 : Commission on Human Rights, 43rd session.
UNITED NATIONS Economic and Social Council Distr. GENERAL E/CN.4/1987/SR.55 16 March 1987 ENGLISH Original: FRENCH COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS Forty-third session SUMMARY RECORD OF THE 55th MEETING Held at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, on Wednesday, 11 March 1987, at 10 a.m. Chairman: Mr. EVMENOV (Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic) CONTENTS Question of a convention on the rights of the child Question of the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in any part of the world, with particular reference to colonial and other dependent countries and territories This record is subject to correction. Corrections should be submitted in one of the working languages. They should be set forth in a memorandum and also incorporated in a copy of the record. They should be sent within one week of the date of this document to the Official Records Editing Section, room E.610 8, Palais des Nations, Geneva. Any corrections to the records of the meetings of this session will be consolidated in a single corrigendum, to be issued shortly after the end of the session. GE. 87-11622/90 86B E/CN.4/1987/SR.55 page 2 The meeting was called to order at 11 a.m. QUESTION OF A CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OP THE CHILD (agenda item 13) (continued) (E/CN.4/1987/WG.1/CRP.1, E/CN.4/1987/L.57 and L.82) 1. Mr. LOPATKA (Poland), speaking as Chairman-Rapporteur of the Working Group on the Question of a Convention on the Rights of the Child, presented the Group's report (E/CN.4/1987/WG.1/CRP.1). He recalled that the Group, which was informal and open-ended, had been established by Economic and Social Council resolution 1986/40. It had met from 26 to 30 January 1987 and had held 10 meetings, after which its report had been adopted unanimously. Unfortunately, it had not been able to complete the draft convention, but it had adopted five new articles: on the rights of the child belonging to an ethnic, religious or linguistic minority, on the protection of the child from all forms of sexual exploitation, on the protection of the child from all other forms of exploitation, of whatever nature, and on the prevention of the abduction of, or trafficking in, children. It had also adopted an article on the widest possible dissemination of the text of the convention. It had completed the drafting of five other articles, namely, articles 6 bis, 9, 10, 12 bis and 16. 2. A number of proposals, which had been thoroughly discussed, had not achieved a consensus and other substantive proposals would be considered during the following year. The Group had held an in-depth discussion on the most appropriate mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the convention, and a joint text had been prepared. The discussion of that mechanism would be continued in 1988. 3. To sum up, the results achieved by the Group were positive and encouraging, since it had adopted the preamble and 35 articles of the draft convention. It would probably not be possible to complete the first drafting of the entire text of the convention by 1988. If the Commission adopted draft resolution E/CN.4/1987/L.57, it would facilitate the task of the Group, which would meet again before the forty-fourth session in order to help the Commission to conclude its work. 4. He emphasized that all the decisions had been taken by consensus as a result of the participants' willingness to co-operate. He thanked, in particular, those international organizations such as UNICEF, the Red Cross and ILO, as well as non-governmental organizations, which, in addition to participating actively in the Group's work, had given extensive publicity to the draft convention. For example, the text had been studied at an international conference in Erevan, the capital of the Armenian SSR, in September 1986, under the auspices of the Soviet youth organizations, international youth organizations and UNICEF. In conclusion, he proposed that the Commission should adopt the report of the Working Group without a vote. 5. Mr. COLLIARD (France) said that his delegation welcomed the further progress that had been achieved during the year by the working Group on the Question of a Convention on the Rights of the Child (E/CN.4/1987/WG.1/CRP.1), as a result of which Reveral articles had been adopted. The aim of the draft convention was to promote consideration of the interests of the child and to give that fundamental principle an international dimension. In fact, children were frequently the first victims of the sometimes brutal reality of relations among nations. E/CN.4/1987/SR.55 page 3 6. In that respect, the fate of children torn between two parents separated by a frontier was particularly distressing. Geographical distance often led to despair on the part of mothers and fathers hoping to fulfil their role as parents and educators. Distance was also heart-rending to children, who needed both a maternal and a paternal stabilizing influence and who were entitled not only to the affection of their fathers and mothers and their paternal and maternal families, but also to the benefits of two distinct cultures. With the possible exception of special cases, those children also had a right to freedom of movement between the two countries. 7. Unfortunately, recent events throughout the world offered tragic examples of split families of that kind. In that connection, there was a need to establish or enhance bilateral co-operation between the States concerned, in a spirit of mutual respect for their traditions and cultures. That approach, which was being pursued by the French authorities, was in keeping with that adopted by the Working Group at its most recent session, during which it had considered article 16 of the draft convention. 8. A group of divorced or separated mothers had recently come to Geneva to express their distress and suffering; his delegation wished to assure them that a bilateral convention was currently being negotiated between Algeria and France. In order to give special consideration to the human dimension in each case, it would be helpful to have a flexible and pragmatic procedure that would make it easier to take actual family situations into account. The mothers who had come could also appeal to a mediatory body composed of two eminent persons recently designated pursuant to an accord concluded between the Prime Ministers of Algeria and France in the autumn of 1986. 9. In conclusion, he expressed the hope that the Economic and Social Council would authorize the Working Group to continue its work during the week preceding the forty-fourth session of the Commission. He assured the Group of his country's continuing interest in the text currently nearing completion and of its active co-operation. 10. Sir Anthony WILLIAMS (United Kingdom) endorsed the sentiments expressed by the representative of France on the question of child abduction. That was a distressing problem which had recently been highlighted by the march organized by the Collective for Solidarity with the Mothers of Abducted Children. It was heartening to learn that some of the mothers who had travelled to Geneva had been temporarily reunited with their children in Strasbourg and had agreed informally with their estranged husbands on future arrangements for access to their children. 11. In general, his Government felt that the international community should encourage the widest possible use of arrangements that had the force of law. Although ad hoc agreements were useful, they could break down very easily. In 1986, the United Kingdom had ratified the Hague conventions on the recognition and enforcement of decisions concerning the custody of children and on the restoration of the custody of children. Even if those two conventions did not always offer a remedy, as the courts in individual States might not always recognize an order made in another contracting State, they were a step in the right direction. His delegation hoped that they would have a deterrent effect and help to provide a solution to that growing international problem. It also hoped that other States which had not acceded to those conventions would recognize their value and become parties to them, E/CN.4/1987/SR.55 page 4 12. Mrs. KSENTINI (Algeria) said the fact that the Working Group had not yet finalized the draft convention or begun the second reading of the articles provisionally adopted (E/CN.4/1987/WG.1/CRP.1) was solely due to the meticulous manner in which the convention was being drafted and the participants' desire to take the various aspects of the rights of the child into consideration. In fact, a convention that was intended to be universal could not confine itself to a blinkered view of the rights of the child. The Group had made a special effort to take into account the interests of children in the third world and the special problems they were facing. She welcomed that constructive approach and urged the Group to persevere in that course of action. 13. Her delegation wished to emphasize that, when dealing with questions relating to the status of the child, it was extremely important to pay due regard to the various legal and cultural traditions that existed in different parts of the world. In that respect, her delegation felt that the convention should take account of the practice of kafala, for example. The second reading of the draft articles would provide an appropriate opportunity to rectify that omission and to reformulate the relevant provisions in a manner consistent with the declaration adopted by the General Assembly at its forty-first session (resolution A/41/85), entitled "Declaration on Social and Legal Principles relating to the Protection and Welfare of Children, with Special Reference to Foster Placement and Adoption Nationally and Internationally". In the preamble to that text, the General Assembly recognized that, in the principal legal systems of the world, various valuable alternative institutions existed, such as the kafala in Islamic law, which provided substitute care for children who could not be cared for by their own parents. Her delegation hoped that the Working Group would give due consideration to the provisions of that Declaration and draw inspiration from it. Her delegation wished to take the opportunity to reaffirm the capital importance of drafting an international instrument to ensure respect for the interests, needs and rights of future generations. 14. It also wished to refer to the case of the children of estranged mixed couples, whose situation was particularly distressing when the trauma of separation was aggravated by parental conflicts which were hardly mitigated by the differing cultural and geographical backgrounds of the spouses. The tragic situation of those children was not specific to a particular country or region. The distressing plight of those innocent child victims made it necessary to devise means that would enable a settlement to be reached in each case, in such a way as to safeguard the interests of the child while respecting the rights of both parents. 15. Algeria had shown that it was fully conscious of the humanitarian aspect of the problem and had adopted an extremely open-minded approach with a view to furthering the interests of the child and promoting dialogue and harmony as illustrated by the negotiation of a legal convention which, through bilateral agreement, would govern legal assistance between France and Algeria. Pending the conclusion of such a convention, the competent Algerian authorities were carefully examining the eases submitted for their consideration. For obvious reasons, an Algerian magistrate could not recognize the exequatur of foreign judgments that failed to make recognition of the mother's right of custody conditional on the granting of visiting rights to the father, or confined those visiting rights to the territory in which the judgment had been E/CN.4/1987/SR.55 page 5 delivered, which in practice was often tantamount to a denial of the father's visiting rights. However, it should be noted that, of the 300 applications submitted for consideration by the Algerian authorities, more than 100 cases had been settled. 16. Algeria had always stressed the need to organize the exercise of international visiting rights with a legal guarantee of return, and it was still willing to take action to that effect, possibly through an exchange of letters between Governments. It had also consistently advocated the settlement of problems on a case-by-case basis through parental conciliation. To that end, it had appointed a mediator whose mandate had recently been renewed. Accordingly, her country welcomed the parental agreements recently concluded at Strasbourg, and was willing to guarantee their execution. 17. In conclusion, she recognized that the Commission was not the appropriate forum to discuss the cases of children of estranged mixed couples, since the real dispute was between the parents as individuals. However, her country wished to indicate that it was aware of the humanitarian dimension of those cases and repeated its willingness to promote solutions that attached primary importance to the interests of the children, preserved their links with both parents and safeguarded the rights of the father as well as the mother. With regard to legal assistance, the bilateral negotiations between the Governments concerned remained the best way to find means of regulating such assistance on an equal and reciprocal basis conducive to respect for the values inherent in each society. 18. Mr. AL-KHADI (Iraq) said that the promotion of human rights began with a proper upbringing of the child within the framework of the ideals of peace, dignity and freedom as set forth in the Charter. The need to give special attention to children had been affirmed in most international instruments and by the bodies concerned with the well-being of children. His delegation believed that, when drafting an international convention on the rights of the child, it was necessary to take into consideration the different laws relating to personal status and their attitudes to the family and the child, in order to produce a universally acceptable convention. 19. However, that was not sufficient in itself: a spirit of international co-operation was also essential in order to put an end to the carnage of wars and disturbances in which children also faced death, starvation and disease. Co-operation among nations was a prerequisite for the establishment of the international economic conditions needed to help the developing countries to overcome the economic crisis and, consequently, for the development of children, who must be prepared for the effective enjoyment of their rights as stipulated in the convention. The specialized agencies and organizations particularly concerned with children could play a very significant humanitarian role in that connection. 20. His Government shared the view expressed by States and organisations that had participated in the Working Group's consideration of draft article 20, which would remain inadequate unless efforts were made to put an end to the serious armed conflicts that were taking a deadly toll throughout the world (see paras. 159-164 of document E/CN.4/1987/WG.1/CRP.1). His Government could speak from sad experience since, for a long time, it had been embroiled in a war that had been forced on it. Furthermore, for seven years, it had E/CN.4/1987/SR.55 page 6 witnessed the tragic fate of thousands of Iranian children whom the Government in Teheran had thrown into the battlefield as cannon-fodder, Hundreds who had survived, often barely 12 years of age, were now in prisoner-of-war champs. In order to alleviate their plight, Iraq had assembled them in a special camp where they enjoyed humanitarian treatment in keeping with their age. Those children were receiving an education under an agreement concluded with Terre des Hommes, which was supervising the teaching and vocational training programme available in the camp. 21. His delegation believed that the situation of children thrown into battle should be considered by the drafting committee working on the text of the convention, so that such occurrences could be prohibited in future. Countries should endeavour to ensure the dignity of all in a spirit of peace and understanding, failing which future generations would continue to fall victim to the hazards of war. 22 Mr. LOMEIKO (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) recalled that the Soviet Union had always fully supported the initiative taken by Poland with a view to the formulation and adoption of a convention on the rights of the child. His delegation was very grateful to the Working Group and, in particular, to its Chairman for the efforts they had made during the meeting held prior to the present session of the Commission. It was regrettable that the pace of the activities in which the open-ended Working Group had been engaged for many years had not been more rapid. The delays that had occurred were attributable partly to the numerous discussions that took place every year concerning the wording of provisions on which agreement had already been reached, and partly to the fact that some delegations were constantly submitting new proposals, a process that could continue indefinitely. It was essential to achieve results, particularly in view of the fact that, even in developed countries, many rights of children were still being violated and a large number of the scourges threatening children, such as slavery, sale, abduction and exploitation for various purposes had still not been eliminated. In fact, there was even a growing number of child prostitutes, alcoholics and drug addicts, who were frequently the indirect victims of unemployment, of the inadequacy ox. total lack of medical services, or of a detective educational system. If, as the French author Saint-Exupery had written, every dead child might have been another assassinated Mozart, it must be acknowledged that the situation of child victims of war was a particularly shameful phenomenon. He also noted the frequency of suicides among young people, who left letters saying that they were taking their own lives for fear of entering the war-torn world of adults and living under the threat of monstrous weapons. Adults had obligations towards children; they should respect their right to a future in a world of peace, equity and sanctity. 2.3, His delegation was convinced that a common desire and effort on the part of all would make it possible to draw up a satisfactory instrument. It would welcome an agreement to the effect that the countries participating in the Working Group would refrain from submitting new proposals, Delegations that had already distributed the texts of proposals should examine then with a critical eye and not press for their discussion by the Working Group. That applied in particular to proposals which Merely repeated provisions that already existed in other international instruments, such as those relating to human rights. Those provisions had been proclaimed by the united Nations with a view to their implementation and not their constant reaffirmation. At all E/CN.4/1987/SR.55 page 7 events,, duplication should be avoided. Accordingly, the work could be speeded up and steps could be taken to ensure that, at its next session, the Working Group would be in a position to settle the questions concerning implementation machinery and to submit an agreed draft text to the Commission at its forty-fourth session. His delegation endorsed the proposals made by Mr.Lopatka and hoped that other delegations would also support them, 24. Mr. BOSSUYT (Belgium) shared the concern expressed by the delegations of France and the united Kingdom concerning the freedom of movement of children of estranged mixed couples. In that connection, he had noted with interest the statement by the Algerian delegation. 25 Mr. PACE (Secretary of the Commission) announced that Honduras had joined the sponsors of draft resolution E/CN.4/1987/L.57. 26. The CHAIRMAN invited the representative of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic to introduce draft resolution E/CN.4/1987/L.57. 27. Mr. OGURTSOV (Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic) welcomed the extensive support that had been given to Poland's initiative, as could be seen from the fact that the draft resolution had been sponsored by almost 80 countries from virtually every part of the world. Although all those who had taken part in the sessions of the Working Group had contributed many valuable ideas, which had enhanced both the form and the substance of the draft convention, the most significant contribution had been made by Poland. Twenty-seven years after the adoption of the Declaration on the Rights of the Child, the situation of children was still far from satisfactory and must be improved. There was a need to ensure the development of children in a peaceful and secure environment. The future convention would be extremely useful since it would fill the gap in the present system of international human-rights instruments, in which very inadequate consideration was given to children, who nevertheless constituted the most vulnerable human group. 28. He referred to the principal points in the operative paragraphs of the draft resolution and expressed the hope that the text would be adopted by consensus. 29. The CHAIRMAN drew the attention of the members of the Commission to the statement of the draft resolution's financial implications, as set forth in document E/CN.4/1987/L.82. 30. He suggested that, if there was no objection, the Commission should adopt draft resolution E/CN.4/1987/L.57 by consensus. 31. It was so decided. E/CN.4/1987/SR.55 page 8 QUESTION OF THE VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS IN ANY PART OF THE WORLD, WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO COLONIAL AND OTHER DEPENDENT COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES (agenda item 12) (continued) (B/CN.4/1987/38, E/CN.4/1987/L.29/Rev.1, -/L.31, -/L.33/Rev.1, -/L.36/Rev.1, -/L.39, -/L.41/Rev.1, -/L.49, -/L.54/Rev.1, -/L.58, -/L.63, -/L.65, -/L.69, -/L.70, -/L.74, -/L.76, -/L.78, -/L.79, -/L.80, -/L.83, -/L.84, -/L.85, -/L.86, -/L.87, -/L.91). Consideration of draft resolutions or decisions Draft resolution E/CN.4/1987/L.29/Rev.1 32. The CHAIRMAN invited the representative of the United States to introduce draft resolution E/CN.4/1987/L.29/Rev.1. 33. Mr. WALLACH (United States), introducing draft resolution E/CN.4/1987/L.29/Rev.1 entitled "Situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cuba", said that, even more than its content, the interest to which that draft resolution had given rise in the Commission proved the importance that was attached to the question to which it related. All States members of the Commission had a duty to apply human-rights standards and fulfil, in their territory, the obligations that they had undertaken in that connection. In conformity with those obligations, they must seek ways to protect their citizens and improve their living standards. Those obligations had been fully recognized in United Nations documents, and in the constitutions and other basic texts adopted by each State. 34. Although draft resolution E/CN.4/1987/L.29/Rev.1 had caused a lot of flurries, it merely reflected the way in which one State Member of the United Nations, namely the United States, viewed its obligations in regard to human rights and felt concern at the manner in which another Member State was fulfilling the same obligations. In fact, the present-day world was interdependent and anything that happened in one country could have repercussions on another country. Everyone knew that all nations that respected the rights of their own citizens also firmly believed in the principles recognized in all international human-rights instruments and were seeking to preserve peace, whereas those that acted otherwise posed a threat not only to neighbouring States but also to the world as a whole. That was why all the States members of the Commission were duty-bound to raise the question of any violations of human rights that might occur in another State, since such events affected peace and tranquility throughout the world. 35. For years, the United States had been playing a loyal part in the work of the United Nations, to whose development and stability it had been making a spiritual, financial and intellectual contribution. However, in some cases, his country had never hesitated to express concern at the ineffectiveness of the Organization, which, in fact, had not always succeeded in living up to the aspirations of peace-loving peoples by making a practical contribution to the protection and promotion of human rights. The Commission on Human Rights, in particular, had often failed in its duty to adopt an equitable and objective approach when dealing with the questions submitted to it. Nevertheless, the United States had not abandoned its efforts, since countless human beings throughout the world still hoped that human rights would eventually be assigned a high priority in international relations. E/CN.4/1987/SR.55 page 9 36. Accordingly, without wishing to engage in polemics OR to impose its will, the United states had felt obliged to raise in the Commission the question of the situation of human rights in Cuba. That moderate attitude was in sharp contrast to the aggressive policy Cuba had adopted vis-a-vis its neighbours in the western hemisphere, and its unfriendly acts towards other nations. Draft resolution E/CN.4/1987/L.29/Rev.1 could have been worded in far harsher terms. However, it did not contain any inflammatory statements. Moreover, the United States was not requesting the Commission to appoint a special rapporteur on that question, as the Commission had sometimes done with much less justification in cases other than Cuba. In view of the irrefutable evidence and testimony that had already been submitted to the Commission, the United States was simply calling upon it to add one more country to its agenda. The Commission would discuss the situation in that country, which would have to react positively and co-operate in a manner befitting a State which was a Member of the United Nations and a party to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 37. At its previous session, the Commission had decided not to vote on the draft resolution concerning Ethiopia which had been submitted by the United States of America. That decision had been based on two justifiable reasons: firstly, the United States had not furnished sufficient evidence in support of its allegations, and secondly, the Ethiopian Government had assured the Commission of its open-minded attitude and good faith, and had undertaken to make every effort to rectify any errors that might have been made. It had even invited the representative of an international organization to come and monitor the situation within the country. For its part, the United States delegation had submitted its draft resolution out of a desire to assist the Ethiopian people and no one had questioned its motives for so doing. 38. Mr. LOMEIKQ (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), speaking on a point of order, said that his delegation would like to know whether the representative of the United States was introducing draft resolution E/CN.4/1987/L.2 9/Rev.1 or giving an account of his Government's position. Moreover, he could not understand why the representative of the United States was referring to Ethiopia, which was not mentioned in the draft resolution. 39. Mr. WALLACH (United States) said that he had referred to the decision taken by the Commission in 1986 on the draft resolution concerning Ethiopia in order to show that the situation was much different in the case of Cuba. The United States had furnished irrefutable evidence of the systematic violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cuba, which had not observed the same standards as Ethiopia. The draft resolution on Cuba, which should have been submitted long before, could not bring back to life the numerous Cuban victims of their country's regime, nor could it enable thousands of Cubans to forget the suffering they had endured in their country's prisons. However, it could provide the Commission with a means of reaffirming its commitment to the cause of the protection of human rights throughout the world and demonstrating that it was capable of acting effectively, which it could begin to do by considering draft resolution E/CN.4/1987/L.29/Rev.1 in a fully equitable and objective manner. 40. Mr. TEJA (India), referring to rule 65, paragraph 2, of the rules of procedure, requested the Commission not to take a decision on draft resolution E/CN.4/1987/L.29/Rev.1. His delegation would adopt the same position on draft resolution E/CN.4/1987/L.31. He requested that his motion should be put to a vote in accordance with rule 42 of the rules of procedure. E/CN.4/1987/SR.55 page 10 41. Mr. HACENE (Algeria) supported the notion by the representative of India. 42. Mr. KOLBY (Norway) opposed the motion. In his opinion, the members of the Commission should be given an opportunity to vote on the substance of the draft resolution and, in general, on all delicate questions submitted to the Commission. The United States had submitted a similar text at the most recent session of the General Assembly, which had justifiably refrained from talking a decision for two important reasons: firstly, delegations had not had enough time to consider the proposal submitted to them; and secondly, the Commission was the proper forum for the consideration of that type of text. Since the Commission, as the proper forum, now had a draft resolution before it, it should adopt a position and not shirk its responsibilities. 43. Mr. OGURTSQV (Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic), speaking on a point of procedure, pointed cat that, in accordance with the rules of procedure, the floor should be given to only two delegations supporting the motion and to two others opposing it, after which a vote should be taken on the motion, delegations not being allowed to explain their position until after the vote. For its part, his delegation joined Algeria in supporting the motion by India. 44. Mr. MARTIUS (Federal Republic of Germany) expressed serious misgivings about India's motion and supported the objection raised by the representative of Norway. The Commission should be able to consider violations of human rights in any part of the world, in accordance with the actual wording of agenda item 12. 45. Mr. FRAMBACH (German Democratic Republic) shared the view of the representative of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic that the Commission should abide by its rules of procedure, which were clear. After giving the floor to two delegations supporting the motion and to two delegations opposing it, a vote should be taken. 46. Sir Anthony WILLIAMS (United Kingdom) pointed out that rule 65 of the rules of procedure did not specify how many speakers could be given the floor on any motion. 47. Mrs. CASCO (Nicaragua) considered that the Commission should vote on India's motion in the manner indicated by other representatives, particularly that of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic. 48. Mr. FERREIRA MARTINS (Brazil) said that his delegation would abstain on the motion by India. He pointed out that India had already submitted a similar procedural motion in the Third Committee of the General Assembly. At that time, Brazil had joined the consensus, believing that the draft resolution in question should first be considered by the Commission on Human Rights. Since the Commission was now the appropriate forum, Brazil could not support a motion that would have the effect of preventing an organ from fulfilling its mandate. Basically, his delegation believed that allegations concerning violations of human rights should be considered in accordance with ethical and humanitarian principles, and that politicization, on the other hand, should be avoided since, in the final analysis, it served no purpose and only created a climate of confrontation prejudicial to the commission's work. E/CN.4/1987/SR.55 page 11 49. Mrs. BOZSHKOVA (Bulgaria), referring to procedure, requested the Commission to cake an immediate vote, in accordance with the rules of procedure. Explanations of vote, could be given after the vote. 50. Sir Anthony WILLIAMS (United Kingdom), also referring to procedure, inquired whether the representative of Bulgaria was submitting a new notion which, in the circumstances, would be a motion for the closure of the debate. If so, that motion should be considered in the appropriate order. 51. Mr. SOLEY SOLER (Costa Rica) said that his delegation was opposed to the type of procedure to which India's motion was giving rise. In his opinion, apart from being undemocratic, such a procedure would make it impossible for the Commission to discuss the situations brought to its attention and would call in question the very purpose of the Commission's existence. 52. Mrs. BOZHKOVA (Bulgaria) said that she was formally requesting the closure of the debate in accordance with rule 50 of the rules of procedure, and then a vote on the motion by India. 53. Mr. ROBERTSON (Australia) declared his opposition to the motion for closure of the debate by the Bulgarian delegation. 54. Mr. OGURTSOV (Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic) supported the motion by the representative of Bulgaria. 55. Mr. BOSSUYT (Belgium) pointed out that rule 50 of the rules of procedure stipulated that permission to speak on a motion for closure of the debate could be accorded to only two representatives opposing closure. The rule made no mention of statements in favour of that type of motion. Accordingly, the support expressed by the delegation of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic was not in order. 56. Mr. MARTIUS (Federal Republic of Germany), like the representative of Australia, opposed the closure of the debate, as requested by the Bulgarian delegation. He noted that several members of the Commission had expressed their intention to make a statement on the substance of the draft resolution that had been submitted. 57. The CHAIRMAN announced that, in accordance with rules 50 and 51 of the rules of procedure, he was putting to a vote the motion by the Bulgarian delegation concerning the closure of the debate on the motion by the representative of India. A roll-call vote had been requested. 58. Brazil, having been drawn by lot by the Chairman, was called upon to vote first. In favours Algeria, Bulgaria, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, China, Congo, Cyprus, Ethiopia, German Democratic Republic, India, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Yugoslavia. B/CN.4/1987/SR.55 page 12 Against: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Federal Republic of, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Somalia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, Venezuela. Abstaining: Argentina, Bangladesh, Colombia, Gambia, Iraq, Lesotho, Mexico, Pakistan, Rwanda, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Togo. 59. The motion for the closure of the debate by the Bulgarian delegation was rejected by 18 votes to 13, with 12 abstentions. 60. Mr. PERREIRA MARTINS (Brazil), speaking in explanation of his delegation's vote, said that it had voted against the motion because, in its view, firstly, there had not been any debate as such on the motion by India, and secondly, the Commission on Human Rights should respect the right of all delegations to state their views at the appropriate time. The meeting rose at 1.15 p.m.